“Be impeccable with your word” is the first of ‘The Four Agreements’ scribed by Don Miguel in his book of the same name and is followed by his acknowledgement that it is not only the most important of all the agreements but is also the most difficult one to honour.
If you have ever spent even a few hours in conscious awareness of what comes out of your mouth, you may be surprised at the subtle liberties most of us take with our word. Yet, in ‘the old days’ a man’s word was his honour – there was no agreement more binding and no test more worthy of a man’s character than his word. These days, we tend to say whatever is easiest in the moment …”I’ll call you”… “I’m fine”… “I’m working on it”… “it’s their fault not mine”. We bastardize our word in favour of instant gratification or the path of least resistance.
Being impeccable with your word leads to integrity which, to me, implies consistency in thought, word and deed. People who have integrity say what they mean, do what they say and “don’t change horses mid-race”. They embody their values to the point that these values become part of their identity. They don’t practice “compassion” or “kindness” or “honesty” or whatever the value might be because it has become who they are. And their actions follow accordingly.
I feel profoundly blessed to know a few truly extraordinary individuals who live their life with “impeccable integrity”. What these people all have in common is that they are almost always guided by their heart. Our heart is where the truth resides and so when we are thinking and speaking and acting from our heart, it automatically follows that we become impeccable with our word – we don’t even have to think about it. The truth does not sway in a moment of either elation or anger, it is not precariously balanced on a mood meter that might change from one day to the next and it is not situation specific. Impeccable integrity and authentic power come only when we are deeply centred in our heart.
The damage we inflict, both to ourselves and others, when we think, speak and act from our head and thus fall out of impeccability, is a toxic multiplier and an emotional poison that slowly erodes the foundation of any relationship it encounters. As Don Miguel says, “Consider how many times you have gossiped about the person you love the most to gain the support of others for your point of view. How many times have you hooked other people’s attention, and spread poison about your loved one in order to make your opinion right? Your opinion is nothing but your point of view. It is not necessarily true. Your opinion comes from your beliefs, your own ego and your own dream. We create all this poison and spread it to others just so we can feel right about our own point of view.”
To take this one step further, Dr Wayne Dyer offers “The law of attraction is this: You don’t attract what you want. You attract what you are.” He goes on to talk about the four cardinal virtues as outlined in the teachings of the Tao Te Ching: “The first is reverence for all life, which manifests as unconditional love and respect for oneself and all other beings. The second is natural sincerity, which manifests as honesty, simplicity and faithfulness. The third is gentleness, which manifests as kindness, consideration for others and sensitivity to spiritual truth. The fourth is supportiveness, which manifests as service to others without expectation of reward.”
Gary King’s formula for happiness states that Honesty (to self and others) + Forgiveness (to self and others) + Self Worth = Happiness (H + F + SW = H). When we start consciously placing a higher value on heartfelt honesty and integrity than instant gratification and impulse, we start changing the foundation from which we live and we being to experience a joy, a love and a freedom that completely transcends language.